In a move to accurately ascertain the true level and incidence of domestic violence in this country, with a view to stemming its occurrence, Government will be undertaking a survey during the next financial year.
This disclosure has come from Acting Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, John Hollingsworth, who said his department would be commissioning the study to assist it in shaping policy in this area. “The issue of violence against women is fraught with some challenges in relation to the compilation of statistics; so, this area is the first that we are seeking to address. We recently launched a pilot programme on a Data Collection Protocol on domestic violence, and through that, we hope we will be able to collect pertinent information that would assist us in formulating and recommending appropriate policy to address the issue of domestic violence,”
Mr. Hollingsworth stated.He made the comments on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women which will be commemorated on November 25. Barbados will join several countries across the globe to focus on this scourge. There will also be a 16-day campaign against gender-based violence.
Mr. Hollingsworth explained that the activities had been planned in an attempt to draw attention to this problem, acquaint women of their rights and educate their partners about the alternatives to violence when disagreements arise. He noted that several pieces of legislation, including the domestic violence protection orders act, were already on the statute books to protect men and women.
“By and large, the legislation is adequate to some degree, but there is still more that can be done; however, this takes time,” he stressed. He said that domestic violence was not only manifested in physical violence, but psychological, which he said could include restricting a person’s access to his or her personal property and stalking the person.Some years ago, Barbados signed on to the CEDAW and BelemdoPara Conventions which focus on the elimination of discrimination against women and violence against women.
Mr. Hollingsworth said that through these treaties, government had agreed to implement a number of the articles that were enshrined within these legal instruments. “What we have seen in government’s response to these conventions is the introduction of the domestic violence protection order and a shelter for battered women which is run by the Business and Professional Women’s Club. There are various other features of the article that government is implementing as time progresses, because it is not easy to implement everything wholesale,” he stated.
In addition, he noted that the Beijing Platform for Action was another UN document in which the countries agreed to follow specific courses of action to eliminate discrimination and violence against women.
“But, what some of these conventions and plans of action do is speak to the needs of women. There is one in relation to sexual harassment of women and this is currently being considered by government. And, hopefully within the very near future this is something we can see on the statute books of Barbados,” he said.